How is cremation changing the funeral industry in 2019?

The U.S. cremation rate is now at almost 55%.  Forecasts are for the rate to reach 80% within 20 years.  How is the cremation trend changing the funeral industry?

Some say that the funeral industry faces some grave challenges.

Let’s first look at how this cremation trend is affecting the cemetery industry?

Most certainly cemeteries are facing a huge challenge.  Some cemeteries have added cremation niche mausoleums and ash scattering gardens in recent years.  Now there are reports of cemeteries in some locales merging.  This is an attempt to better prepare for a future with a very low burial rate and reconcile overhead costs.

U.S. cemeteryCemeteries are not as popular as they once were.  With Americans’ attitudes changing, more migration happening, and less religious and nuclear family values, cemeteries are becoming green spaces with little foot traffic.  There are progressive cemeteries that have added green burial sections and realigned their purpose in their community by holding community recreational events.

As the cremation rate continues to climb, cemeteries will be further challenged to stay operational.  Families save thousands of dollars opting for cremation instead of burial,  but these same families are then less likely to spend hundreds of dollars interring cremated remains.  Cremation niches, scattering or interring ashes, all cost if you use a cemetery.  Fees start at around $300 for a basic scattering or natural burial of cremated remains.  Although most cemeteries are likely to charge a minimum of $500 to inter cremated remains.

And, now what changes have we observed in funeral homes?

I think there are several distinct changes that we can see.  Firstly, the revenue potential for funeral homes has decreased markedly.  The average cost of a traditional funeral is $8,755 (NFDA 2018) without any cemetery costs.  If a family now opts for a cremation service, that price is likely to drop to around $3,600.  So, it is easy to see that revenue for funeral homes must be decreasing as families shift from traditional burial to cremation.

Secondly, more small independent funeral homes are installing cremation equipment.  Presently, 30% of funeral homes own and operate their own crematory, with a further 10% planning on installing equipment in the next 12 months.  The current growth trend in cremation may indicate it is a sound business strategy to install cremation equipment on-site, however, this equipment can be costly for a small business. If a funeral home cannot increase their volume of cases and now has increased their overhead, they could be in serious trouble in the coming months or years.

Other changes we are seeing are related to changes in legislation and training.  Many states require funeral homes to have an embalming room to be licensed.  This was challenged in Minnesota a couple of years ago by Crescent Tide Funeral & Cremation Services.  The small funeral business challenged the requirement for an embalming room when all they were offering was cremation services.  They won their case.  Other states are beginning to re-visit funeral legislation, especially where it is holding small funeral businesses back.  More training is being implemented for cremation technicians who do not have to hold a funeral director’s license.  In Florida, the law permits a business to open as a ‘Direct Disposer’ only.

More funeral homes already have, and continue to, open separate cremation companies to cater specifically for the demand for cremation.  And many funeral homes have sought to extend their normal service area in an attempt to generate an increase in cremation cases and hence increase their revenue.  This, of course, has implications for those small funeral homes who are not competing for the cremation market.

How can all funeral homes remain in business when over half of Americans’ are opting for a cremation?  And furthermore, figures indicate that around 80% of those cremation services are low-cost direct cremation.  In most cities now a direct cremation can be arranged for around $700.

How is the death care sector changing overall to adapt to cremation?

Cremation marketA few big changes are beginning to occur.  Most notably I have observed an increase in acquisition.

This is not only corporate acquisition on a large scale, but a number of private regional, and even private family groups extending their reach into new markets.

The Internet has changed the marketing of funeral services more than any other medium in the last century.  Marketing funerals has always been complex.  Selling a service that no one really wants to purchase!

Now funeral companies are using Google Ads to position themselves in a way never before possible.  With a greater capacity to reach into areas and markets with greater ease and investment.  Aside from the increase in funeral homes now having websites and entertaining social media, a growing number are offering online arrangement portals.  Allowing families to conduct cremation arrangements without ever visiting the funeral home.

The future journey ahead for the funeral industry.

Future of the funeral industryHere are my predictions for some further changes we are likely to see in the next 10 years.  We will see a reduction in the number of funeral homes in the U.S.  The number has decreased by at least 2,500 over the last 10 years.  But many more small-town funeral homes will not be able to compete in the changing death care landscape.

The probability that we will see another shift in the landscape.  There is a growing concern about the environment and an interest in natural death care alternatives.  Cremation (albeit more eco-friendly than traditional burial) still creates the same emissions as a 500-mile car journey.  Alkaline hydrolysis (water cremation) and human composting are new initiatives that are causing disruption.  If gas costs, cremation permit fees, and emission charges rise then the cost of cremation may escalate to a point that the public will turn again to a new alternative that offers affordability and simplicity.

Arranging a low cost cremation in Jacksonville, FL

cremation cost jacksonville flMore families today are looking to save money on the cost of a funeral, and turning to the Internet to conduct cremation price comparisons.  The only problem with this is that many funeral homes in Jacksonville do not disclose funeral prices on their websites.

Although the FTC rule made it federal law for funeral homes to have a general price list and to make this available to families either in person or by phone, still too many funeral homes choose NOT to include this on their website.  This makes it difficult for families at the time of need to effectively use the Internet to price shop for funeral services.

We at DFS Memorials wanted to simplify this and help families by easily connecting them with a local Jacksonville funeral home that offered the best value cremation services.  We wanted to take the hassle out of funeral price shopping for families.

Low-cost cremation services in Jacksonville

We conducted some research and cremation cost comparisons to establish a preferred low-cost cremation provider for the Jacksonville area.  The cost of a basic cremation can vary considerably depending upon the funeral home you select but you can arrange a basic direct cremation in Jacksonville for around $695.

An affordable direct cremation package will generally include:

  • Collecting the deceased from the place of death
  • Refrigerated storage for the mandatory waiting period
  • Completion of all the necessary documentation & authorizations
  • A basic cremation container
  • The cremation
  • A temporary container to return the cremated remains to the family

Cheap direct cremation from a Direct Disposer in Jacksonville

Florida is one of only two states where Direct Disposers are licensed and can operate without funeral home facilities.  Cremation costs from a Direct Disposer may initially seem much cheaper, but I would suggest you carefully check the small print of an offered budget cremation from a Direct Disposer.  It is not unknown for charges such as refrigeration or out-of-hours collection to significantly increase the cremation cost.

The DFS Memorials provider for Jacksonville is a local, family-owned funeral home that can offer full-service cremation services but also understands the need for cremation services that meet every budget.  This enables DFS Memorials to offer families in Jacksonville a simple, dignified direct cremation for just $695 complete (with no hidden extras).

$695 complete direct cremation available to the Greater Jacksonville area and throughout the neighborhoods of Arlington, Avondale, Barnette Office Park, Belfort Station, Brooklyn, Cecil Field Naval Air Station, Central Civic Core District, Church District, Downtown, East Jacksonville, Empire Point, First Coast Center, Institutional District, La Valla District, Mandarin, North Jacksonville, Oakland, Ortega, River Park, Riverside, San Marco, Sherwood Forest, South Bank Dist, South Jacksonville, South Side, Springfield, Springfield Historical District, St. John Quarter Historic District, Stadium District, Waterleaf, and West Jacksonville

Why is direct cremation so popular today? Cremation trends in 2019

The cremation rate has risen exponentially over the last 6 years to reach almost 55 percent in 2018.  It seems that more Americans are opting for a cremation service these days instead of a burial service.  We are in changing times, and most significantly, cremation offers a more affordable and flexible death care alternative to traditional burial.  More people are looking for “simple and affordable” alternatives, and direct cremation is leading the cremation trend.

The term ‘direct cremation’ is an industry term, that represents what many would refer to as a simple or basic cremation.

Cremation services save thousands on the cost of a funeral service

A traditional burial service would cost in the region of $10,000 to $15,000.  A cremation service costs in the region of $3,000.  A direct cremation can be arranged for even less than this.  For many families who are struggling with finances, and living paycheck to paycheck, even raising $3,000 can seem impossible.

A direct cremation service can be purchased in most areas for between $700 and $1,500 at the time of need.  This means that direct cremation offers a much more affordable death care solution for many families where finances are a big concern.

Cremation Service Why is there such a big shift to direct cremation?

Direct cremation is the most economical cremation option available to families.  And, where many families are choosing direct cremation for financial reasons, there is also a demand today simply for affordable and ‘no-fuss’ cremation.  Even individuals who are not governed by financial limitations are opting for direct cremation.  Why?  Because it seems there is a shift away from the need for traditional funeral services.  Direct cremation offers a simple and flexible disposition.  For families with relatives who have transplanted and migrated to different states or cities, a direct cremation offers an easy way to coordinate death care requirements at the place of death, and memorial services as and when convenient.

Affordable Pre-need Cremation Plans

Preplanning a direct cremation can be arranged for around $2,500.  This secures a direct cremation when the need arises, and is still an affordable way to pre-plan and have peace of mind.  Today’s senior population and baby boomer generation understand the benefit of prepaying a cremation plan now to give them a sense of preparation, and save their children from the financial burden of funeral costs.

This demographic of 50+ also seem to be leading a shift away from traditional funerals.  They want something simple and have more creative ideas about memorialization.  Direct cremation fits with their mind-set.

Direct cremation vs. Cremation Memorial services

Most funeral homes still tend to want to sway families to a cremation that includes a viewing or funeral service. Naturally, they feel that their ‘expertise’ in helping families memorialize and process grief, is an intrinsic part of their service offer.  However, industry reports indicate that of all cremations performed, the majority are direct cremations.  It seems the funeral industry prefers to keep this data somewhat quiet!

Understandably, the funeral industry wants to try and keep direct cremation ‘suppressed’ as much as possible.  It means their revenue and profit-margins decline significantly.  However, the industry IS aware of this huge shift.  Service Corporation International (SCI), the largest corporate death care company, has invested in direct cremation with the Neptune Society.  Neptune Society is a direct cremation company.

Other regional death care companies have quietly acquired funeral businesses that have positioned themselves to serve the direct cremation market.

Price-shopping is a reality in the death care market

Purchasing funeral services used to not be about discussing costs.  A funeral purchase is a ‘distressed purchase’ and it seemed disrespectful to inquire about costs.  Today, we are so entrenched in price-shopping and comparing prices.  And now this is impacting on the funeral business.

Now, we have funeral businesses who are Google-advertising competing in the ‘best price’.  Indeed, some areas almost have a price-war over direct cremation prices.

So, whether the funeral industry embraces it or not, direct cremation is becoming the popular disposition option within the death care market today.

Cremation costs in 2019: How much should you pay for a direct cremation service?

Over 55% of Americans now choose cremation as their ‘preferred’ disposition and death care option.  This shift from traditional burial to cremation is having a huge impact on the funeral industry.  Because, while cremation means that funerals are becoming more affordable for families, it means that funeral homes’ revenue is declining.  What we are starting to witness in 2019 is the impact of cremation in terms of pricing.

Cremation saves on funeral costs

Often families think of cremation as a way to save costs.  And, although there are different reasons why a family chooses cremation, the lower cost of a cremation funeral is by far the primary reason.  A cremation service is generally at least half the cost of a burial service, if not more.  But, direct cremation is what is revolutionizing the funeral industry at present.  A direct cremation is the most economical cremation option.  And, what the industry is not telling us, is that direct cremation is now accounting for around 70% of all cremations performed.

What does a cremation cost?What is a direct cremation?  And why is this challenging the funeral industry?

A direct cremation, is where a simple cremation is conducted, without any ceremony or services.  This means the funeral establishment (or crematory) simply handle the collection of the deceased, complete the required legal administration, and perform the cremation.  The cremated remains are then returned directly to the family.  What this means is that it can be delivered at a much-reduced cost.  The demand for direct cremation is challenging an industry that once did not even feel a need to provide up-front funeral pricing.  Now, cremation consumers are shopping around to compare cremation prices, and seeking out the most affordable direct cremation service they can find.  As within other consumer sectors, why would you opt to pay hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars more, for the exact same product or service?

How much should you expect to pay for a direct cremation?

A direct cremation ranges in cost in any one area.  If you conduct a simple comparison between 5 funeral homes and cremation providers, asking for the cost of a direct cremation from their General Price List, you will see a difference in price.  Especially if you select a range of different providers from small funeral home to large corporate funeral home.  In most major cities, a direct cremation can be conducted for between $595 to $995.  Rural areas tend to be more expensive, as there is less competition for the cremation market.

Comparing cremation prices

The chart below highlights the comparison between a DFS Memorials independent low-cost cremation provider and the average cost for a direct cremation in a city.

AREA DFS Provider direct cremation price Average direct cremation price*
New York City NY $485 $1,969
Los Angeles CA $625 $1,524
Houston TX $675 $2,173
Chicago IL $995 $1,949
Philadelphia PA $1,095 $1,798
Phoenix AZ $639 $1,337
San Antonio TX $595 $1,856
San Diego CA $600 $1,358
Jacksonville FL $695 $1,648
Dallas-Fort Worth TX $755 $1,944
Indianapolis IN $650 $2,261
Seattle WA $600 $1,519
Detroit MI $845 $1,199
Boston MA $1,310 $2,332
Memphis TN $995 $2,060
Oklahoma City OK $895 $1,914
Las Vegas NV $695 $1,526
Louisville KY $795 $1,880
Denver CO $995 $1,791

*Average direct cremation price 2019 obtained from Parting Funeral Home Comparison website

Are cremation prices likely to rise in 2019?

Cremation planningThe market for cremation services will continue to become more competitive.  Most funeral businesses need to increase their volume of cremation business to sustain their revenue.  This is already leading to cremation ‘price wars’ in some cities, where funeral homes are reducing their direct cremation price to increase their volume of cases.

However, at the same time, we are also witnessing an aggressive approach from corporate funeral entities, who need to acquire their own share of cremation business.  Corporate death care companies, such as Dignity Memorial and The Neptune Society, can afford to enlist the expertise of professional marketing services and ‘dominate’ in the domain of online advertising and direct mail.  Corporate and privately-owned funeral entities across the U.S. are acquiring successful independent cremation businesses to dominate a cremation market in a specific area.

We observed an example of this recently with Foundation Partners (a privately-owned funeral business with 80 locations in 17 states) acquiring a longstanding family business in Tucson.  The family business had offered the lowest cost direct cremation to families in Tucson, and continues to operate under the existing funeral home name.  I would anticipate that once these large funeral entities position themselves to dominate a market, we are likely to see cremation prices rise again.

Pre-arranging cremation services

Taking out a pre-arrangement cremation plan today could potentially save you on the possibility of rising cremation costs.  A direct cremation plan can be funded by an insurance product or a trust, and ensures you lock in today’s prices.  The terms will differ, depending on your state legislation on funeral plans, and your personal circumstances for making payment.

Pre-arrange cremation serviceAn important aspect of pre-arranging a cremation is to pre-authorize the cremation.  For a cremation to proceed, the legal next-of-kin, must sign a Cremation Authorization Form.

But, when pre-arranging, you can pre-authorize your wish for cremation.  Saving surviving family from the decision when the time comes.  Typically, a direct cremation that costs $650 today at-need, would cost approximately $1,200 to pre-plan and pre-pay over 24 months.

Alternatively, you can pre-plan by doing some research to determine an affordable cremation services provider near you, and put aside the required funds for an ‘at-need’ direct cremation in a POD (Payable on Death) account at your bank.  Many funeral service providers are happy to prepare the necessary paperwork for a cremation and keep it on file for when the need arises.  This allows you to retain control of your funds for a cremation, while having made the proper provision for your surviving family. Read more about pre-planning a cremation or funeral with a POD account.

So, the key ‘take-aways’ from this article are that you should ensure you compare cremation costs before deciding on a cremation service provider, and be aware that the cremation market is likely to change over the coming years.

Cremation rate rises faster than forecast!

The annual National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Cremation & Burial report has been released, and the data forecasts that the cremation rate is rising faster than originally predicted.

The cremation rate was originally predicted to reach 75% by 2035, now it appears the cremation rate is more likely to reach 80% by 2035.  This forecast has implications for the funeral business as a whole, when within the last 10 years, the cremation rate has risen exponentially affecting a funeral home’s gross annual revenue.

Cremation rates in the US between 1960-2035

Credit: Statista.com

Why is the cremation rate rising so fast?

The rise in cremation is largely being driven by consumer demand for more affordable, flexible and simple funeral alternatives.  This new market of baby boomers, families living paycheck to paycheck, and consumers moving away from conventional rituals is leading a shift towards cremation services.

Comparing Cremation PricesCremation is more affordable.  The average cremation service is likely to be half to a third of the cost of a burial service.  A casket is not required, especially if a cremation memorial or direct cremation is performed.

Some funeral homes are even offering rental caskets now for the purpose of conducting a cremation funeral.  This can save $500 – $1,500 on funeral costs alone.

There is no immediate need for a cemetery plot or burial vault, both of which can add $2,000+ to the overall cost of conducting a burial service.  Embalming is not required for a cremation, so this is another general cost eliminated from the total funeral bill.  Embalming can cost anywhere between $500 – $1,000.

So, as you can quickly surmise, cremation can present an immediate saving on funeral costs of approximately $4,000.

Cremation rates across the United States

Although the cremation rate this year is forecast to be around 53%, the cremation rate still varies across the nation.  The states with the highest cremation rate (over 70%) are Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.  These are now being fast followed by states such as Arizona, California, Florida, and New Mexico.

The cremation rate is lower among the Midwest states and the southern states, although these states that had traditionally had a much lower interest in cremation, are reporting a more significant increase in their cremation rates.

An industry in change: funeral homes adapting to a new market

The funeral industry has long been a very traditional and stoic industry.  Some critics would describe it as a slow to respond to change.  However, there are funeral companies that are now specifically catering to the growing demand for cremation services.

Service Corporation International (SCI) has reduced its base cremation price in recent months, and begun a marketing campaign aimed at cremation customers.  SCI also bought 70% shares in The Neptune Society in 2011, a direct cremation company, operate a very active cremation plan direct marketing campaign, and have increased the number of Neptune Society locations in the last 5 years.

The average independent funeral home has maybe found this market shift to cremation more challenging to respond to.  A cremation service has a lower price value.  In the case of direct cremation, very minimal input is required by a funeral director, as no ceremony is provided by the funeral home.  With no casket, no funeral service, and a simple cremation service….a funeral home is looking at a significant drop in revenues!

Comparing cremation prices

Arrange a cremation onlineIt seems todays’ potential cremation consumer has become savvier, and more concerned, with comparing the costs for cremation.  Funeral homes are having to respond to this demand for transparent cremation pricing by openly disclosing cremation prices, either online or over the phone.  More funeral homes are choosing to openly offer their general price list (GPL) and cremation package pricing on their websites.  California even now legally requires a funeral home to disclose their GPL on their website.

A number of online platforms and websites have emerged aimed at providing cremation cost comparison services over the last few years.  However, a consumer must consider the subjectivity of the information provided.   Websites like Heritage Cremation and Legacy Cremation advertise a cremation service nationwide between $695 – $1,395, but do not provide a specific price for an area.  Other websites have gathered GPL’s from a range of funeral homes in an area, but may not include ALL funeral homes in an area, and require a visitor to search through funeral home after funeral home to compare pricing.  Or require a fee for a pricing report, or to submit your personal contact information to obtain a cremation price.

Some funeral home websites provide their own funeral pricing comparison charts for their own market, but may choose to omit any local providers offering a lower price than them.

DFS Memorials aims to help you quickly identify a local, independent cremation provider and provide you with his direct cremation service charge.  So, at your time of need, you do not have to become overwhelmed comparing cremation prices.  Cremation providers selected for the network all offer a ‘best value’ direct cremation package to their local community.

Arranging an affordable funeral service in Atlanta

Can you afford to die?

The cost of dying in Georgia today is causing many families to have to explore different alternatives to the traditional funeral service.  A full traditional funeral service in Atlanta can cost as much as $10,000, when you add in all the costs for funeral merchandise and cemetery costs.

This can simply be more than many families can afford.  CNN Money reported this week that 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  Frightening isn’t it – to think that every day families in Atlanta are faced with the death of a loved one and NO resources to pay for funeral expenses!

A traditional funeral service in decline?

Burial is still a deep-seated tradition in Georgia but this is changing.  Cultural attitudes to death rituals and the significance of religious tradition is a part of this change.  But also, cost is now playing a big factor in why people are changing their attitude towards funerals in Atlanta.

There are now more affordable funeral options for families, and funeral homes in Atlanta who are catering to the demand for cheap funerals.  The price of caskets has come down since more online casket sellers emerged and especially since Walmart and CostCo starting selling them for under $1,000.

Our DFS Memorials provider for Atlanta offers families a complete affordable funeral service for $3,635, which includes a casket and all the basics of a arranging a funeral service, with the exception of any cemetery costs.  This is dignified death care at a price you can afford.

Low cost cremation in Atlanta

Georgia is still one of the 10 states with a lower cremation rate in the US, but the cremation trend is affecting Georgia too now.  A cremation works out much cheaper than a burial.  There are no costs for embalming, a casket, a vault or a cemetery plot – much reducing the overall spend on a funeral.

A basic, direct cremation can be arranged for $895 complete.  This does not involve any service, but a family can arrange their own service at their chapel or location of choice, once the cremated remains are returned to the family.

A direct cremation in Atlanta is by far the lowest cost funeral.  Even a cremation with a service will cost about a third of the cost of a traditional funeral.

If you need to save  money on your funeral expenses, then you need to look at what options are available in Atlanta that can help you arrange a funeral at an affordable cost.

Low cost funerals in Athens, Atlanta Metro, Columbus, Dalton & Gainesville and the counties of Fulton, Clayton, Fayette, Carroll, Paulding, Cobb, Douglas, Gwinnet, Rockdale, De Kalb, Walton, Henry, Newton, Oconee, Barrow, Cherokee, Forsyth, Harris, Talbot,  and Dawson.

So, what is ‘Direct Cremation’? And why do many in the funeral industry not want to talk about it?

Our nation is changing its death care preferences and cremation now accounts for over 50% of funerals.  This trend is set to continue, with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) forecasting the cremation rate to reach 85% by 2035.

This is leading more families to start considering cremation, and asking questions about what options they have if they choose cremation.

What do you understand about cremation?  How does this impact on our death care choices?

A cremation is an alternative means by which to conduct the disposition of a body.  A cremation can be conducted after holding a traditional funeral service.  The cremated remains can still be interred in a cemetery plot, as you would do with a casketed body.

Cremation is proving a growing trend for a number of reasons.  The primary reason is cost.  A cremation, even with a full funeral service, works out much cheaper than a traditional burial service.  No casket, burial vault or cemetery plot is immediately required.  Even if you opt to hold a funeral service prior to cremation, many funeral homes now offer rental caskets for the purpose of the service.

Cremation questions

Another reason why cremation is gaining popularity is that it is a simpler, ‘less fuss’ option that many people are preferring today.  Who wants to spend thousands of dollars on a single funeral expense, when a dignified cremation can be conducted simply for under $2,000?

Cremation is a very final disposition of a body and therefore there are strict laws governing the authorization of a cremation.  A Cremation Authorization Form must be signed by all legal next-of-kin before a cremation can proceed.  This is largely as it is such a final act, and if there is even the slightest dispute or uncertainly amongst surviving next-of-kin, then a cremation should not go ahead.

The county also must authorize that a cremation can be conducted.  Generally, the funeral director has to obtain a permit from the county before he can cremate.

What is a direct cremation?

Direct cremation is an industry term for a cremation conducted with no ceremony or services.  The funeral director’s services are merely those to collect, complete the legal paperwork, and conduct the cremation process.  The cremated remains are then returned directly to the family.  This is the least expensive cremation option, and in many cities, can be performed for under $1,000.

The funeral industry often prefers to refer to a direct cremation as a ‘simple cremation’, a ‘basic cremation’, or ‘No ceremony cremation’.

The price for a direct cremation must be listed on a funeral home’s general price list (GPL), but you will find it listed towards the bottom of a GPL.

How much should you expect to pay for a direct cremation?

As with all funeral services, prices do vary, and this is not just by area but also according to the service providers.  A direct cremation can cost anywhere between $495 and $3,200.  A full-service funeral home will generally charge a higher fee, as they have a greater overhead to off-set.

Saving on cremation costsSome traditional funeral homes offer more affordable direct cremation, but often through a separate cremation entity that they have established to cater specifically for the market for direct cremation.

It is always wise to check a few prices to compare direct cremation costs.  But more importantly ensure you ARE comparing like-for-like packages.  Be very mindful of what is included in a price for a direct cremation.  Often third-party fees, such as death certificates, permits and sometimes even the crematory fee are not included.  Some cremation providers and funeral homes offer an inclusive direct cremation package, that may include death certificates and a simple cremation urn.

How is cremation affecting the funeral industry?

The simple truth is that cremation is revolutionizing the funeral industry, and many within the industry have either been resistant to the change, or slow to respond.  It is understandable….when a traditional burial costs in the region of $10,000-$15,000 and a cremation funeral costs around $3,500…this represents a significant decline in income and profits for a funeral home.

For the last decade or so, we have had too many funeral homes to service the death care needs of their communities.  However, many survived because conducting maybe 2 traditional funerals a month was enough to exist on, and even make some money.  Now that has changed and this is, and will continue to have, a dramatic effect on the funeral industry.

Some more progressive funeral directors, especially those who were business-minded, have responded to, and even embraced the change.  They have strategically placed their funeral business to respond to the demand for cremation, they have formulated simple and affordable cremation packages, and openly disclose their cremation prices.

Whilst others have been slower to respond.  Still hoping that cremation is a trend and the industry will return to the ‘glory’ days of elaborate (and expensive) funerals.

Cremation funeralDirect cremation is for many their least-favored request from a family, and some will still be compelled to convince a family that it is not enough.  We at DFS Memorials believe this is not true.  Direct cremation offers families a simple, efficient, convenient and affordable means to conduct funeral services.  Once the family has the cremated remains returned from the funeral director, it is simple, personal and inexpensive for the family to conduct their own memorial services (without the expense of a funeral director).

Memorial services can be held at home, in a place of worship, community center, outdoors, or just about anywhere you wish!  The shift towards Life Celebration events to memorialize allows us to use our imagination to celebrate the life of a loved one, without the somber tone long preached by the funeral industry.

Burial vs. Cremation: Things to Consider

As the US shifts towards cremation as the preferred death care choice, more families are asking questions about cremation to determine if choosing cremation is the right choice for them.

Deciding about the final disposition of a loved one can be one of the biggest decisions you make if you are charged with arranging a funeral.  If your family member did not have a funeral plan in place, or had not expressed their wishes before passing, it can be even harder to make decisions.

Cremation is the ‘buzz’ word in the funeral industry now, as we have witnessed the US shift from largely traditional burials to embracing cremation and a simpler and ‘no fuss’ death care alternative.

Cremation rates in the US

Credit: NFDA

How the cremation rate is changing

Since 2012 we have witnessed a shift towards cremation.  In 2014, the National Funeral Directors Association forecast that the cremation rate nationally would hit 77.8% by 2035.  This year they have reviewed that figure to 85%.  Many funeral homes in the DFS Memorials network report that 80% of their funerals are now cremation.

Even states that remained traditional in their death care and burial attitudes are beginning to shift to cremation options.

Why are families choosing cremation?

Although there are several reasons why families are choosing cremation, the biggest determining factor is cost.  A cremation is significantly cheaper than a traditional burial.  No casket is required, embalming is not required, and cemetery plots, vaults and fees can be eliminated.

With many Americans struggling financially, a cremation can prove a much more affordable means of conducting a disposition.

Aside from this, there is a growing trend towards simpler funeral choices.  Many Baby Boomers are just opting for a simple ‘no-fuss’ cremation.

We are now a more transient and transplant nation than ever before, with families spread across states, and even the nation.  This means that the notion of a traditional burial place no longer has quite the same meaning, and families are not able to memorialize in the same way. Many feel that cremation allows them to memorialize in a different way.

Our attitudes towards religion and the environment are also shifting, and this has impacted on death care choices.

How do burial and cremation prices compare?

An average traditional funeral costs in the region of $10,000.  A cremation can cost between $1,000 to $3,500.  Direct cremation, the least expensive cremation option, can cost between $500 – $1,000.  So, there is a significant saving if you opt for cremation.  DFS Memorials providers all offer a low-cost direct cremation to their communities.

In many cities, burial space has become limited, and therefore burial plot prices have increased.  In New York, for example, a cemetery plot alone can cost $18,000.

There are funeral providers offering very simple burial services, and even natural burial, and these can prove an inexpensive alternative to a traditional burial.

Choosing cremation

Families conducting their own memorial services

Cremation changes how we can memorialize a loved one.  There does not have to be a rush to conduct funeral services in a timely fashion before burial.  A cremation can be conducted and a memorial service held later.  This enables the family to have more control and flexibility over making funeral arrangements.

Some families still choose to inter the cremation urn, but some are beginning to seek alternative memorial options, such as ash-scattering in a memorial garden or special place; having some cremated remains made into a keepsake; or simply keeping the urn close by at home.

What should you really know if you are considering a cremation?

There are a few important considerations to make, and these are generally governed by state funeral legislation as well.

  1. Cremation is a very final disposition of remains. It eliminates all traces of DNA and any future examination of remains.  For this reason, there is certain protocol about authorizing a cremation.
  2. A cremation can only proceed when the Medical Examiner or Coroner has approved the cremation and issued a cremation permit. This is also to ensure there is no cause or concern that a cremation should not proceed.
  3. A Cremation Authorization Form must be signed by all immediate legal next of kin for a cremation to be legally conducted. If there is a dispute between siblings, a funeral provider will not proceed with cremation.
  4. In some states, there is a mandatory wait period after death before a cremation can be conducted, even if all permits and paperwork is in order. This ranges from 24-48 hours.
  5. Generally, it can take several days for a cremation to go ahead and the cremated remains available for the family. This is the time-frame for completing all necessary legal documentation, and scheduling the cremation.
  6. There are very strict protocols for crematory operators to ensure that cremation is handled in a respectful, dignified and safe manner. Rigorous ID checks are maintained throughout the process.  Only one body can be cremated in a retort, and the retort must be completely cleared before the next cremation.  Reputable funeral homes and crematories follow these protocols to the letter.  However, as cremation and a decline in profits, has hit the funeral industry there have been funeral homes cutting corners to meet their loss of income/profit.  It is always wise to select a trusted provider.  Although there are ‘budget’ cremation providers out there….cheapest is not always best!

If you still have questions about whether cremation is for you or your family, talk to your local funeral home or DFS Memorials cremation provider.  They will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Trends in cremation service

Cremation costs in 2018: How much should you expect to pay for cremation?

As cremation becomes the popular alternative to burial for more and more families across the US.  The question is being asked more frequently “How much should a cremation cost?”

Whilst deciding whether cremation is for you can be a personal choice about death care alternatives, for many, the price of cremation can be a determining factor in their decision.

It is important to realize that prices for cremation can vary considerably.  Cremation costs depending on the cremation service provider and depends on your location.

Many major city areas offer more competitive cremation prices, where rural areas and certain states tend to be more expensive overall.

Saving on cremation costsSo, what should you expect to pay for a cremation?

The first thing you need to consider is the type of cremation service you require.  If you are opting for a funeral service, followed by cremation, then prices begin in the range of $2,000 – $3,000.

This is significantly cheaper than typical funeral burial prices, which can be upwards of $4,000 (without including cemetery fees).

What is the least expensive cremation service?

A direct cremation is the least expensive cremation service you can opt for.  The term ‘direct cremation’ refers to where there is no ceremony or services offered by the funeral home or crematory.  The deceased is collected from the place of death, sheltered whilst all required paperwork is completed. In some states, a mandatory wait period is in force before the cremation can be performed.  The cremation is conducted and the cremated remains returned directly to the family.

As the funeral director offers basic services to facilitate a direct cremation, this can be offered at a base price.  Direct cremation ranges from $485 to $1,795, again depending on your locality.  A direct cremation can be conducted in Brooklyn, NY for $485.

Comparing direct cremation costs by city

Listed below is an example of direct cremation costs in major cities in the United States.  This data is extracted from the DFS Memorials network of affordable cremation providers and Parting funeral price survey website.

City Lowest direct cremation cost Highest direct cremation cost
Chicago, IL $975 $4,600
Dallas, TX $755 $6,300
Fort Myers, FL $795 $2,200
Houston, TX $675 $6,800
Indianapolis, IN $850 $6,100
Las Vegas, NV $495 $2,240
Los Angeles, CA $625 $2,900
Louisville, KY $795 $3,390
Miami, FL $596 $2,340
Nashville, TN $995 $4,400
New Orleans, LA $1,550 $2,930
Phoenix, AZ $639 $2,370
Pittsburgh, PA $695 $3,895
Salt Lake City, UT $750 $2,595

What does a direct cremation price quoted include?

Generally, a price for a direct cremation on a funeral home GPL or website will include:

  • Collection of the deceased from the place of death (may be an additional fee if residential collection)
  • Shelter of the deceased for a specified number of days (additional days may incur additional fees)
  • A cremation container
  • Services of the funeral director to complete all required paperwork (death cert. permits etc)
  • The cremation process
  • A temporary cremation urn for returning the remains to the family

What additional fees may I incur on a direct cremation?

Third-party fees are generally added to a direct cremation price.  These are the cost for death certificates and if a fee must be paid for a cremation permit or medical examiner.

Other additional expenses could be:

  • Collection from a residential address as opposed to a hospital, morgue or nursing home.
  • Barometric charges if the deceased is overweight.
  • Selection of a cremation casket
  • Selection of a cremation urn
  • Arranging a private family viewing prior to cremation

What do I do with the cremated remains once they are returned?

This is another question that families frequently ask.  As more families choose direct cremation, they want to do something with the cremation ashes when they are returned to them by the funeral home.  Memorial services and Life Celebration Ceremonies are growing in popularity.

The great thing about direct cremation is that aside from being a more affordable cremation option, is that the family can then conduct their own memorial service at a time and place of their choosing.

What about scattering the cremation ashes?

Scattering ashes is now being either requested or conducted, by families who do not want to inter remains and feel that scattering a loved one’s remains in a special place is a more befitting final resting place.

Several direct cremation providers now offer packages where, for a small additional fee, they will scatter your loved one’s ashes for you.

Cremation Plans:  Think ahead and be prepared

The NFDA has put “cremation as the chosen form of disposition for almost 80% of American deaths by 2035”.  This means more and more of us WILL be choosing cremation for our final disposition.   As the cost of a direct cremation is often less than $1,000, this makes it a simple and affordable solution for many families today.

To better understand your options, it is wise to do some research and be aware of what direct cremation prices are in your city.  Those providers that offer pre-need cremation plans often add a premium to their at-need cremation price to allow for inflation etc.

However, you can preplan without the need to prepay a cremation provider by selecting the cremation provider you wish to handle the service and ensuring certain things are in place.  You can pre-sign your own ‘cremation authorization form’ and have this lodged with the provider in advance.  You can set aside the required funds in a POD bank account that a beneficiary can gain instant access to in the event of the death of the account holder.  You can read more about this on US Funerals Online at What is my best and safest option for putting aside money for a funeral?

Cremation now the most popular disposition choice for Americans

2016 marked the year that more cremations were conducted than burials.  Last year 50.2% of dispositions were cremations.  This is a huge shift in the funeral industry and a significant change in tradition.

Why are more Americans choosing cremation?  There are several reasons cited, but by far the most common reason is COST.  Economical conditions for the majority of Americans mean that the days of elaborate and costly traditional burials are over.

Cremation costs A traditional burial would cost anywhere in the region of $10,000 – $20,000 depending upon the cost of the casket and cemetery plot.  If the deceased had not made any pre-need funeral plan, and surviving family are left to fork out for the funeral, then spending tens of thousands of dollars is just NOT an option.

CNN reported in 2015 that 76% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck.  And these are the folks that cannot afford the sudden ‘disruption’ to their finances of an unexpected expenditure such as a funeral.

And let’s face the harsh reality which is that there really is NO financing for a funeral. Seriously who is going to lend money based upon having no means to ‘re-possess’ the goods?!!

Affordable cremationSo for many Americans cremation has just entered the scene as the ONLY viable affordable alternative to conduct a funeral.

A cremation service will cost you within the region of $3,000 – $4000.

This is a full service funeral but with a cremation conducted after the service.

A cremation memorial where the deceased is first cremated and then a memorial service held with the cremated remains costs less than a full-service cremation.

A cremation memorial is likely to cost in the region of $1,500 – $2,500.

For those families that can only afford the bare minimum, or for those families that do not desire any services whatsoever, then a direct cremation is the solution.  A direct cremation is where the funeral home and/or crematory simply handle conducting the cremation of the deceased and returning the remains to the family.

A direct cremation costs anywhere in the region of $425 – $1,595 depending on the city, location and provider.  The cost for a direct cremation does vary geographically.  For example, Las Vegas NV is probably the cheapest place to purchase a direct cremation and Lafayette LA is one of the most expensive for a direct cremation.

It is always wise to check cremation prices from more than one funeral home or cremation service provider.  You will quickly discover that the cost for a cremation service can vary, even for the exact same service.

If cost is king for you and you want to arrange a low-cost direct cremation and keep your funeral costs to a minimum, then DFS Memorials can help you.  DFS Memorials is a network of local, independent funeral homes all offering an affordable direct cremation package.  We conducted extensive price comparison research to recruit a local cremation provider that represented best value in quality and price for a simple direct cremation.

Use the state links on the right-hand side to find your nearest DFS Memorials provider and discover the affordable cost for a direct cremation in your area.